Another word for over cautious is fearful, and fear can often show itself by us making excuses not to take action, even if we know that those actions are the right actions to take. The result of fear can be a lack of action, or it can manifest itself as internal sabotage when you do take action.
One of the main symptoms of fear is making excuses, and this will often include blaming: blaming yourself, blaming others, or blaming circumstances.
Common excuses given by property investors include “I can’t find the perfect property” or “the market’s not right”. Believe me, you will rarely find the perfect property, and whether the market is right or not, again that is very subjective.
I know someone who’s been waiting for either the perfect property or for perfect market conditions for several years. But I can’t help feeling that if he’d just bought any (reasonable) property when he first started looking four years ago, he would have an asset that would have significantly increased in value, even allowing for the recent downturn, and he would have increased his equity.
It is highly unlikely that the market will ever be perfect. In the words of Robert Allen, American real estate investor and author, “there’s only one good time to buy real estate and that’s now”.
Other common excuses express self doubt and include “I’m not ready” or “I’m not up to this”, or “I’m not clever enough” or “I don’t know enough”.
Or sometimes fear manifests itself as blame for others like “no one will tell me how to do this properly” or “the estate agents are being unhelpful” “or the bank won’t lend me enough money”.
If they’re blaming circumstances they may use excuses like “property investing doesn’t work” or “there aren’t enough decent properties, I’m wasting my time” or “it’s impossible to find properties with the right yield”.
If you’re finding yourself using any of these excuses it could be that you, too, are being held back by fear. You may not even have recognised yourself as being fearful, this can happen at a deep subconscious level which is why I referred to internal sabotage earlier. You can think that you’re doing the right things, and you can actually be doing the right things, but for some reason it never quite works out. That can be because, according to the motivation and behavioural experts, human beings have this extraordinary ability of unknowingly being able to undermine their own efforts to move forward.
If you think any of this does describe you, then let me reassure you that it is perfectly natural. Committing to buy investment property, especially if you have scarce resources, is the type of activity that will induce a certain amount of fear. Of course, this will not necessarily show itself as you quaking in your boots, or breaking out in a cold sweat (although in more extreme cases it can), but it can explain feelings of unease and discomfort, and tendency to procrastinate rather than take action.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, Author & Property Investor